Neighborhood shootings are becoming a daily happening

Published 1:48 pm Tuesday, April 26, 2022

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It used to be that when we heard of neighborhood shootings, it was in New York City, Chicago, or some other large city. But, that is not the case anymore.
Neighborhood shootings happen everywhere, even here in Carter County and in neighboring cities and counties.
This weekend a juvenile was arrested in Southwest Virginia for the murder of a woman and her nine-year-old grandson. Within recent weeks, there have been deadly shootings in Carter County. We are once again confronted with the nation’s unique relationship with guns.
America is certainly an exceptional country when it comes to firearms. It’s one of the few countries in which the right to bear arms is constitutionally protected. But the relationship is unique in another crucial way. Among developed nations, the U.S. is far and away the most homicidal — in large part due to the easy access many Americans have to firearms.
Why does it happen? People get into arguments and fights with friends, family, and peers. Someone gets angry during an argument and pulls out a gun and kills someone.
Obviously, there are terrible things that people can do with guns. They’re a tool. What happens with a gun depends on who’s using the gun. We are a nation that has a very unique relationship with firearms, especially civilian-owned firearms. Being able to protect yourself or your loved ones — that’s a big part of it and it’s why a lot of people own guns.
But, the problem with neighborhood shootings goes deeper than guns. Many involves drugs, family problems, mental health issues, anger, poverty, etc.
Every person gunned down leaves behind grieving loved ones, and the thought where will it happen next? The circumstances surrounding these recent shootings, of innocent lives needlessly snuffed out, have us asking once again: What can be done to stop the shootings?
Every person has some role to play, because these crimes are also a sobering reminder — if one was needed — that we are all vulnerable to gun violence. No matter the zip code, anyone in our city and county can be sprayed with bullets while involved in the most mundane activity, whether it be on the job, waiting in line at the supermarket, or studying inside a classroom.
Curbing gun violence is a massive task, but the solution absolutely must start with making it much harder for people who shouldn’t have guns to get their hands on a weapon.
Again and again, deadly weapons keep ending up in the hands of people who shouldn’t have them. Again and again, innocent people are gunned down.
Shootings are not simply statistics to be analyzed — they are born of pain and create endless trauma. Every life taken by gun violence is precious. The physical and emotional scars of surviving a shooting never really heals.
The two people killed in Southwest Virginia this weekend were someone’s relatives. It’s something that affects the whole community.
It has been a critical problem for a long time. It is past time to address why this violence occurs, why it grows and what to do about it.
There are a lot of questions, and too few answers. For sure, shooting someone is not the answer.

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